History of Cements
In the event of the history, buildings and civilization played a very keen role in enriching our life and activities. Back in old days Egyptians used calcined gypsum as an alternative for cement and at the same time Romans used lime made by heating limestone and added some mortar with stones and concreate instead of cement.
As romans were the pioneers in making and facing architectural challenges, they had found a way out to create a way to make harbours which was not possible to make with brick as it was unable to hold water hence cements was introduced which was able to help romans to create a platform withstanding water resistance. Roman version of cement was made by adding crushed volcanic ash to lime and was later called a "pozzolanic" cement, named after the village of Pozzuoli near Vesuvius.
In our previous time import and export was not widely popular and hence there were some places where there was a scarce such as Britain and hence there was an alternative found for architecture which was crushed brick or tile which is still followed and hence romans are the first to manipulate systematically the properties of cement for different applications and usage.
Role of Romans in Cement Technology
- A Roman architect and engineer in the 1st century BCE (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio) as mentioned in a book named “Books of Architecture” revealed an historical insight of ancient technology on architecture and cement technology stated “First I shall begin with the concrete flooring, which is the most important of the polished finishing’s, observing that great pains and the utmost precaution must be taken to ensure its durability".
- Pozzolana states "There is also a kind of powder from which natural causes produces astonishing results. This substance, when mixed with lime and rubble, not only lends strength to buildings of other kinds, but even when piers are constructed of it in the sea, they set hard under water." - (Vitruvius, "The Ten Books of Architecture," Dover Publications, 1960.)
- Ten books of architecture have brought light towards the architectural progression in the medieval times.
- After the romans, there was a sudden decline in the building skills particularly in reference to cements due to hardening of carbonation of lime which was considered as a slow process. Then later use of “pozzolana” was resumed in the middle ages.
- This can be traced from all the famous cathedrals which was constructed in Europe and due to the lack of technology of manipulating the properties of cement which romans mastered in their time.
Role of cements in a industrial revolution
The Renaissance era gifted us with industrial revolution which made people think in a different and innovative way. In 18th century British interest on industry and empire coincided which made them to build a lot of lighthouses and wall blocks for shipping losses. Constant loss of warships and merchant ships uplifted the use of cements as it was not possible to build docks with bricks. Smeaton who was a well-known architect behind building the third Eddy stone lighthouse (1759) off the coast of Cornwall in Southwestern England discovered that a mix of lime, clay and crushed slag from iron-making produced a mortar which hardened under water which had a green light towards architectural masterpiece.
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